may 2021

02may(may 2)12:00 pm09(may 9)12:00 pmHomer's Odyssey in Greece: One-week immersionNew Dates12:00 pm - 12:00 pm (9) Island of Agistri, GreeceType Of Study:TravelFrequency:One Off EventDuration:Eight Days


Event Details

Drawing on the success of the LLS, we are excited to expand the studies by offering retreats that place participants in locales that reflect and expand the literature. By taking participants to beautiful places, the LLS retreat offers a more intensive immersion in the book while opening the mind to a part of the world illuminated through the beauty of the language.

The Greek Odyssey study for May 2020 will use Homer’s epic poem to consider closely the guest-host relationship, the defining struggle of humans against overwhelming nature, the struggle to know ourselves in foreign spaces, our understanding of the heroic and the role of myth and epic in lived experience. Actor Jane Wymark and Poet Caroline Donnelly will be assisting Salon Director Toby Brothers in this week-long study, sharing their insights into the spoken word, metre and translation.  In an era where the epic poem is in eclipse, the novel and film having taken over as the preferred vehicles for  complex narratives, we will explore aspects of the Odyssey as a work in the oral tradition.

We have found the perfect site to host this study providing the ideal combination of a local space run by someone who understands our mission & can provide us room & board that has some cultural and adventure offerings — and is easy to access. We will be staying at Rosy’s Village on the stunning Island of Agistri. The study is scheduled for the 3rd (arrival) to the 10th (departure) of May 2020.

** UPDATE: This Salon is now full. If you are interested, please contact us to be added to the waiting list– or to be on the list for the May 2021 Odyssey


  • Facilitated by Toby Brothers, Jane Wymark and Caroline Donnelly
  • May 2nd-9th 2021; program will run approx. five to six hours per day (one day open) leaving time for other activities (optional kayaking adventure and trip to The Pidavros theatre or Temple of Aphasia
  • Preparatory meeting Monday April 26th 7:00-9:30 in London (via ZOOM)
  • Recommended editions: The Odyssey by Homer, translated by Robert Fagles AND the Emily Wilson translation  (more details below)
  • £475 for the Salon study includes preparatory meetings, background materials and opening notes

Room and half board (two meals per day) will be paid directly to Rosy’s; after you register, you will receive details on payment.

Room Prices for seven night stay: (including Breakfast & Dinner)

  • 574 euro  Single  (approx. £510)
  • 413 euro    Double      (approx. £365)
  • 392 eruo  triple/family room

Other costs: Flights (Right now can be found for £120-200 r/t British Air), ferry to Agistri (usually 14 euro each way but may be 30 euro for arrival if the group chooses private water taxi), one meal a day and extra trips. For flight purchase, please make sure you can be in Piraeus by 3 PM for May 3rd to make the ferry.  We will not be meeting on the 10th so you have choices about your return; ferry are frequent (one hour travel from Agistri to Piraeus).

To register and pay for the study or if you would like further information, please contact us . Opening notes will be sent after registration; please read at least one of the translations before arriving on Agistri.

Primary texts edition recommended:

  • The Odyssey translated by Robert Fagles (Penguin Classics, various editions) Nov. 1997 ISBN-13:978-0140268867
  • The Odyssey translated by Emily Wilson (W.W. Norton & Co., Nov. 2018) ISBN-13: 978-0393356250

Participant reflections May 2019:

“And it was such stirring stuff! It transformed The Odyssey from ever so slightly a form of homework, the better to get to grips with Ulysses, into an unexpectedly powerful, truly immersive and poetic experience – a fascinating study in its own right.”

“The facilitators were great, particularly Jane, who is wonderful, for the readings. That was memorable, for me.

I would love to be with you for next year so please book me in…”

About the epic…      

The Salon has certainly been a place to re-discover- or discover for the first time- the works that form the cornerstones of Western literary tradition. The Odyssey is a root for our understanding of ourselves as well as the words and ways of the ancients. How does it continue to shape our idea of the heroic? What do the dilemmas that Odysseus faces offer to us today? Can we still appreciate the lyric and narrative quality alongside a violent story filled with the suffering and death of nameless servants, slave girls and soldiers?


Many artists have used The Odyssey as an inspiration for their work as Joyce does with Ulysses and the Coen brothers did for their film(winning an Oscar for the best screenplay adaptation from Homer’s original)…the epic struggle to return home and exploration of the guest/relationship remain relevant across time.

David Denby, in his work Great Books, describes his engagement with The Odyssey as an essential exploration of the formation of the self for the reader as well as for Telemachus and Odysseus: “Even at the beginning of the literary tradition of the West, the self has masks, and remakes itself as a fiction and not as a guiltless fiction either. . .

The Odyssey is an after-the-war poem, a plea for relief and gratification, and it turns, at times, into a sensual, even carnal celebration.”

Further reading :


And here, from Jane, a brief summary of some of the contemporary novels inspired by the Homeric epics….

All of these books contain major spoilers of the plots of both The Iliadand The Odysseyand so are to be avoided if you’d rather approach the Homeric Epics completely innocent. On the other hand, without some background knowledge of the Greek Pantheon you will soon be at sea so you might consider sacrificing surprise for context…”

Silence of the Girls

Pat Barker

 ‘An important, powerful, memorable book that invites us to look differently not only at The Iliadbut at our own ways of telling stories about the past and the present, an invitation to listen for voices silenced by history and power.’

Emily Wilson

Pat Barker is the author of the much respected award-winning Regenerationtrilogy set during the First World War and is thus very well qualified to retell the story of TheIliadin a style that displays its mythic universality. The first time that Achilles says ‘OK’ it lands as a shocking anachronism, but as you read on you realise that Barker is deliberately showing that the Trojan War has similarities to all wars in all times. Her central character, Briseis, is mentioned no more than a dozen times in Homer: she is an enslaved woman regarded simply as plunder.

The Song of Achilles


Madeline Miller

 The Song of Achilleswas Miller’s first book and was a major bestseller, published in 23 languages. It retells the story of the siege of Troy from the point of view of Patroclus, whose death Achilles avenged by the killing of the Trojan hero Hector and defiling the corpse by dragging it around the city walls behind his chariot. The book was less popular in some quarters: the NYT described it as having ‘the head of a young adult novel, the body of The Iliadand the hindquarters of Barbara Cartland’ and there’s some truth in that criticism, despite its irritating snobbish tone. It’s certainly a very engaging read and Miller’s second book, Circe, is even more so. Circe is a nymph and witch whose island home Odysseus and his men land up on. The book manages to weave in an enormous amount of Greek myth and legend in palatable form.

A Thousand Ships

Natalie Haynes

 ‘This subversive reseeing of the classics is a many-layered delight’.

Elizabeth Lowry

This is the most recent of the current crop of Homeric retellings. It is written in short chapters and covers the stories of many of the female characters, most of whom get fairly short shrift in Homer. Some are given more than one chapter – especially Penelope and the group Haynes calls The Trojan Women. Penelope’s chapters are written as letters to the absent Odysseus, a device taken from Ovid’s Heroides, but the dry witty tone echoes The Penelopiad written by the great Margaret Attwood fifteen years ago which is definitely worth a read.

If you have any questions about this study, please contact us.